# حل مشکل تخصیص آنتن ماهواره ای با استفاده از برنامه ریزی خطی عدد صحیح

کد مقاله | سال انتشار | مقاله انگلیسی | ترجمه فارسی | تعداد کلمات |
---|---|---|---|---|

25490 | 2014 | 9 صفحه PDF | سفارش دهید | 8000 کلمه |

**Publisher :** Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

**Journal :** Aerospace Science and Technology, Available online 30 June 2014

#### چکیده انگلیسی

Every day, ground stations need to manage numerous requests for allocation of antenna time slots by customers operating satellites. For multi-antenna, multi-site ground networks serving numerous satellite operators, oftentimes these requests yield conflicts, which arise when two or more satellites request overlapping time slots on the same antenna. Deconflicting is performed by moving passes to other antennas, shortening their duration, or canceling them, and has frequently been done manually. However, when many conflicts are present, deconflicting becomes a complex and time-consuming when done manually. We propose an automated tool that solves the problem by means of Integer Linear Programming. The models include operational constraints and mimic the manual process but consider the problem globally, thus being able to improve the quality of the solution. A simplified shortening model is also included to avoid excessive computation times, which is crucial given that the general problem has been reported NP-complete. Priorities are taken into account by tuning the cost function according to specifications of the requesting clients. Experiments with real-data scenarios using open-source software show that our tool is able to solve the Antenna-Satellite assignment problem for a large number of passes in a short amount of time, thus enormously improving manual scheduling operations, even when performed by a skilled operator.

#### مقدمه انگلیسی

Satellite operators need the support of ground networks to perform key functions such as uploading commands or downloading gathered data. Recent years have seen a considerable growth in the number of satellites and their communication requirements, resulting in a substantial increase of requests for allocation of time slots in ground antennas. This increment of demand is even steeper for antennas located at strategic geographical locations—for instance, at sites nearby the poles, that provide multiple access windows per day to satellites in sun-synchronous orbits (which include the majority of Earth Observation Satellites, see [6]). At the same time that ground networks try to cope with demands by continuing to expand and build more sites throughout the world, the number of satellite customers keeps growing even faster. Also, new paradigms, such as distributed networks of small satellites ([16]), could push the networks' capabilities to the limit. Thus, ground station companies are faced with rather complex antenna-satellite allocation problems, not only due to a large number of requests compared with the limited number of resources, but also due to additional constraints originating from additional customers' requisites. Thus, the assignment procedure has become a rather cumbersome and time-consuming task when done manually, as it has often been resolved in the past. The satellite-antenna assignment problem is often called the “Satellite Range Scheduling” (SRS) problem, and some resolving strategies have already been proposed in the literature. Barbulescu and coauthors have published many pioneering results in the area. For instance, [3] solve the SRS to the US Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) in a scenario containing 100 satellites, 16 antennas, 9 stations, and 500 requests per day. With the objective of reducing the number of conflicts (typically 120), the authors find that genetic algorithms performed better than other alternatives. Subsequently, [5] analyze the SRS both empirically and formally, proving that the problem is NP-complete, and provide new algorithms improving their previous results. Later, [2] present the evolution of the problem during 10 years at the AFSCN. They also analyze possible alternatives to the cost function, such as minimizing the sum of overlaps. The same group of authors study other heuristics for the SRS in [4], by combining several algorithms. A number of published works by other authors also deserve mention. For instance, [9] describe the SRS for the Deep Space Network (DSN) considering a scenario with 16 antennas, 20 spacecrafts, four-month time-frames, and 650 passes per week. They generate and repair schedules, and pose heuristics for solving the problem with emphasis in re-scheduling. [10] integrate Genetic Algorithms, Graph Theory and Linear Programming in order to build conflict-free plans, and apply their approach to a practical case study provided by a satellite service company. [14] study the scheduling of a single geostationary satellite. [15] formulate the problem as an ILP model, which is found infeasible and then solved by means of a Lagrangian relaxation. As a case study, they apply their approach to Galileo. [21] solve SRS by using Struggle Genetic Algorithms on STK simulations. [22] propose ant-colony algorithms, solving examples with 17 satellites and 11 to 13 antennas, yielding around 400 passes. [23] apply graph coloring algorithms to a set of 500 realistic instances. Finally, [8] take a more global point of view and try to integrate automated scheduling into the concept of timeline (a track record of spacecraft states and resources). This problem has also arisen in the context of academic ground station networks ([17] and [7]) for small satellites operated by research institutions, which usually have some specific needs such as redundancy and flexibility. [18] solve this problem with a tailored approach that also maximizes redundancy in order to solve possible failures in communication, and consider a simple scenario with 6 satellites and 4 stations, yielding 51 contact windows However, due in part to tradition, and in part to the complexities of the problem, manual handling of schedules is still routine for ground networks managers. To simplify the procedure, they plan a batch of antenna-satellite assignments by starting from the last available schedule. Recomputing the satellite positions from their orbits gives the observation windows (these are time intervals of accessibility computed from the satellite orbit, the antenna geographical location, and allowable positions of Azimuth-Elevation for the antenna, i.e., which region of the sky is accessible for the antenna). We refer to these windows as “a pass”. Since passes usually differ from those obtained in past schedules (due to movement along the orbit and the rotation of the Earth), a previous schedule is normally not reusable in the future. Each pass has a default antenna, which is the one requested by the user; this would be considered as the most preferred antenna. From the passes and the users' preferences, antennas are initially assigned. Since the passes for different satellites can partly coincide in time, and different users often select the same preferred antenna, initial allocations may cause conflicts, i.e., time intervals where different passes overlap on the same antenna. Such conflicts can be addressed by performing what we refer to as “deconflicting,” which can be carried out by using certain operations on the passes (which we call deconflicting operations). First, the most preferred option would be just reallocating some passes to other compatible 1 antennas located at the same site. Other options in order of preference would be moving the pass to another site (which could however imply considerable changes in the time allocation if the new site is far away), shortening the pass (up to a minimum duration, as requested by the user), or, if no other options are available, canceling the pass. Some of the deconflicting operations might be performed only on a subset of passes if there is a number of already allocated passes that must be honored (for instance for preferred clients or previous commitments); we denote those as “accepted” passes. Network operators perform manual deconfliction by reviewing conflict after conflict, in an order that takes into account that some satellites (or customers) have a higher priority than others. To solve the conflicts, they perform the deconflicting operations that are allowed for the involved passes, in the preferred order. However, since they are sequentially processing the conflicts and not considering the problem in a global fashion, they often end up canceling passes that could be otherwise accommodated by using a more systematic procedure able to maximize some measure of performance. A similar problem to ours is the disjunctive scheduling problem (DSP). The SRS we study in this paper and the DSP share that a set of tasks (in our case passes) have to be assigned to a machine (in our case antennas). In DSP tasks cannot be interrupted, just like the connection between passes and antennas. They also share the “disjunctive” feature, that is, two different tasks (passes) cannot be processed at the same time in the same machine (antenna). On the other hand, there are some discrepancies. First of all, the traditional objective in DSP (see [12]) is the minimization of the makespan, the completion time of the latest task, which is different from the objectives considered in this paper. Secondly, unlike the DSP, our SRS does not impose precedence constraints. The interested reader is referred to [1] and [19] for more insights into the DSP and algorithms for solving it. In this paper we propose a procedure to solve a problem of deconfliction that was posed by a ground station operator managing an extensive network, composed by several sites with dozens of antennas, from now on called “the company”. Even though the general scheduling problem has been reported NP complete (see [5]), we have found success in solving the problem by using exact Integer Linear Programming (ILP) models. This is due to the fact that we base our models in the formulation used by the company, which is more specific and restrictive than the general SRS formulation, in the sense that many passes do not have more than one or two antenna alternatives, and user preferences strongly shape the resulting solution. In addition, we model the shortening deconflicting operation in a simplified way that avoids the use of continuous variables. Using our models, we have been able to solve in a reasonable time (less than a minute) real-world instances of the problem over a time frame of about a week, by using an open source ILP solver. The instances were of considerable dimensions (thousands of passes over dozens of antennas), with hundreds of conflicts, and provided by the company; their manual resolution by a skilled operator took about one entire day of work. The use of ILP models has proven fruitful for other space mission optimization problems, such as the problem of swath acquisition planning for multiple Earth Observation Satellites, see for instance [13]. The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. In Section 2, the problem is formally stated and the notation used throughout the paper is introduced. The different deconfliction objectives, and the resulting models are described in Section 3, formulated as Integer Linear Programming problems. Computational results, taken from real data, are analyzed in Section 4. We finish with some concluding remarks in Section 5.

#### نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

In this paper, we have introduced Integer Linear Programming models to efficiently manage the scheduling of passes for a multi-antenna, multi-site ground network serving numerous satellite operators. The aim of our methods is to solve conflicts in the best possible way while respecting preferred assignments and priorities. By following the rules and principles of operation of the ground network company, and developing simple models of deconflicting, we have been able to feasibly solve challenging scenarios, finding exact solutions in short times with an open-source solver. Operational constraints and priorities have been efficiently integrated in the modeling and different adjustments can be achieved by tuning the cost weights according to the specifications of the passes. Our models have been tested over a number of realistic instances provided by the ground network operator, which was previously scheduling the passes manually. Conversations with the company representatives let us know that the performance of our procedures exceeded the operator's expectations in terms of speed and quality of solutions (few number of movements, even fewer number of cancelations) with respect to their previous manual system. Among future possible refinements, we could mention the inclusion of additional objectives, such as fairness criteria (penalizing multiple cancellations for the same customer) or the development of advanced tools such as adaptive online scheduling, which would imply a scheduler running online with capabilities such as including last-minute requests for passes as they come, or immediately adapting to dynamically changing constraints, such as antenna failures. Another possible line of future research is to try to exploit the similarities between our problem and the disjunctive scheduling problem in order to find suitable models and algorithms.